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RTÉ’s Big Science Debate

RTE’s Big Science Debate is a nationwide road show, radio series and website brought to you by RTÉ Radio 1, in association with Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Council for Bioethics.

A panel of expert guests, including some celebrity scientists, debate ethical dilemmas facing humankind in front of a local audience. RTÉ’s Big Science Debate is hosted by Rachel English.  The producer of the series is Ella McSweeney.  You can subscribe to the series as a podcast here

Human Enhancement: Making People Better or Making Better People?

We’ve already dabbled in the area of human enhancement with cosmetic surgery, but should we be allowed to ask for better children, longer memories or even ageless lives? Will human enhancement change what it means to be human? Should future people be stronger and more intelligent? Or will human enhancement just widen the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’?
Panellists: Kevin Warwick, Donald Fitzmaurice, John Harris and Maureen Junker-Kenny

In your Blood: Forensic DNA Databases

In an age when Governments are doing more and more to fight the threat of terrorism, many would argue that only the guilty have anything to fear when it comes to using DNA databases in criminal investigations. But should everyone’s DNA be sampled in order to prevent crime? How long should these DNA samples be kept for and who should have access to them? Are we in danger of sacrificing our civil rights?
Panellists: Martin Fairley, Maureen Smith, Tanya Ward and Catherine Ellen O’Keefe

Organ Donation: The Gift of Life?

Organ donation is, for most receivers, a gift of life or a better quality of life. Should people be paid to donate their organs? Should Ireland start a live organ donor programme? Should it be opt-out rather than opt-in? Or is Ireland ready for such a system, in light of the organ retention controversies of the last decade?
Panellists: David Hickey; Robert Sells; Deirdre Madden; Michael Bos

Contributors: David Hickey; Robert Sells; Deirdre Madden; Michael Bos

Environmental Ethics: Whose Planet is it Anyway?

If 2006 was the year the world accepted climate change as a problem caused by human activity, is 2007 the year that we have a moral obligation to a move to a more eco-friendly society? Who should be responsible for combating climate change, individuals or the Government? Since we now know that we are to blame for climate change, can it be considered immoral not to act to stop it? Should we be looking to nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels?
Panellists: Oisin Coughlan; Bryan Wynne; Sean McDonagh; Mike Hopkins

Contributors: Oisin Coughlan; Bryan Wynne; Sean McDonagh; Mike Hopkins

Euthanasia: Your Body, Your Death, Your Choice?

Do terminally ill people have the right to decide how and when they wish to end their lives? Supporters of euthanasia say that they hold individuality, self-determination and autnomy as their highest values. But does euthanasia devalue life? How can we guarantee that euthanasia is voluntary and not enforced?
Panellists: Gerrit Kimsma; Michael Irwin; Regina McQuillan; Santiago Sia

Contributors: Gerrit Kimsma; Michael Irwin; Regina McQuillan; Santiago Sia

Stem Cell Research: Hope or Hype?

Few scientific developments have been both as promising and controversial as stem cell research. Some experts have suggested that stem cell research is the only way to unlock treatments for devastating disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. Others say that destroying embryos for the sake of stem cell research is indefensible. Should embryos be used for research? What is the difference between adult and embryonic stem cell research? And what is the potential of the use of human-animal ‘cybrids’ that were recently approved by the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority?
Panellists: Sorcha Ui Chonnachtaigh; Helen Wheadon; Muireann Quigley; Martin Clynes

Contributors: Sorcha Ui Chonnachtaigh; Helen Wheadon; Muireann Quigley; Martin Clynesia


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